Steve Nelson of Dillard’s Inc., UCA (Lifetime Achievement Award in Accounting)

By Arkansas Business Staff on Monday, Oct. 23, 2017  (“Ecoark”) (OTCQX: EARK)-

Hanging on the wall of Steve Nelson’s home office in Little Rock is the associate degree in accounting his father earned in 1952.

Nelson said his father, Arnie, always encouraged him to enter the accounting field and become a CPA.

But, curiously, Nelson, 59, doesn’t remember his father ever talking about having the degree or working as an accountant. He first learned about it when he discovered the degree in a chest in his father’s home after he died in 2015. “If I knew about it, I don’t remember it.”

Nelson did follow his father’s advice and worked in various accounting positions in central Arkansas for 35 years, including 27 as vice president and controller for Dillard’s Inc.

He retired in 2015 and now teaches in the Accounting Department at the University of Central Arkansas.

“I’ve lived a charmed life,” he said, adding that he enjoys teaching and providing the next generation of accountants with valuable lessons that he learned, often the hard way.

“I teach a lot of ethics in the leadership class, and I tell them you will be confronted with things that may not be right. And the advice I always give the young ones is be true to yourself,” he said.

Born in Nebraska, Nelson and his family moved to Murfreesboro when he was a boy. His father was manager of a plant there.

In high school he took a bookkeeping class and loved it. “My father said, ‘You can be a CPA and do well,’” he recalled. His father also taught him and his brother the importance of a good work ethic.

Although he entered the University of Arkansas with the idea of studying business, Nelson fell in love with accounting when he took a principles of accounting class taught by Nolan Williams, who himself had a distinguished career as an accountant before entering teaching.

“Taking that class really sealed the deal because [Williams] would tell stories on how he would use this accounting in real situations. … He really made accounting fun. The hook was set after that, and that is what I try to do today.”

Another teacher, James Modisette, also had a major impact on his early career. “He motivated me to study hard and take the CPA right away,” Nelson said. “He said, ‘You are not going to be more prepared to take the CPA exam than you are right now.’”

Nelson passed on his first try.

After graduation, Nelson took a job as an audit associate with Ernst & Whinney in Little Rock. “Since we had a small office, I served a variety of clients. However, I mostly audited financial institutions and Dillard’s Department Stores.”

Tiring of the travel, and following the birth of his first child, Nelson took a job as vice president and controller with First Federal of Arkansas. In 1986 he converted First Federal from a mutual ownership form to a stock form and executed an initial public offering of stock. “This was an exciting time for me as I learned a new set of rules associated with SEC reporting.”

It was also in 1986 that he was named controller of First American Bank, which later changed its name to One Bank. He worked there for 18 months before being hired as controller at Dillard’s, at the age of 30. “I got to see it grow, and I grew along with it,” he said.

Nelson, who earned an MBA from the University of Texas in 2007, has served on a number of boards and commissions over the years. He is currently on the board of directors and chair of the audit committee of Ecoark Holdings Inc.

Following the Golden Rule was his management style, he said, adding that the best advice he can give to students is to be true to themselves.

“I try to impress upon them the importance of the accounting system, paying your taxes and being responsible.”

In Preparation for Nasdaq Uplisting, Ecoark Holdings Appoints Jay Puchir CEO and Adds Former Walmart Treasurer Charles Rateliff as CFO

Restructuring to Streamline Parent Company and Focus Key Subsidiaries on Profitability

Founder Randy May to Remain Chairman of the Board

 Rogers, AR – March 29, 2017Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (“Ecoark” or “Ecoark Holdings”) (OTCQX: EARK) today announced several key organizational changes to streamline parent company operations and focus key subsidiaries on attaining profitability as the company prepares to complete its application for uplisting on the Nasdaq Capital Market. As part of the restructure, the Ecoark board of directors has unanimously voted to appoint Jay Puchir CEO of Ecoark Holdings.  Ecoark Founder Randy May will remain Chairman of the Board after nominating Jay Puchir to assume the CEO role. The company also elected former Walmart Treasurer Charles Rateliff CFO and Treasurer of Ecoark Holdings.  The company’s CFO position has remained vacant since former CFO Yash Puri resigned in January 2017.

“Over the past 12 months, as a post-merger public company, we’ve successfully focused on fundraising and growth through acquisition. As we prepare for this critical next stage of the company and uplisting to Nasdaq, we’re proud to promote Jay as our new CEO to develop and execute our strategic growth plan and ensure we deliver maximum shareholder value,” commented Randy May, former CEO of Ecoark Holdings. “During his time as director of finance, secretary, and treasurer, Jay has been invaluable in helping Ecoark and our subsidiaries begin to adopt industry best practices. I’m looking forward to continuing to work closely with him as we enter this exciting next phase of the company’s maturation.”

Key Organizational Changes

In addition to appointing Jay Puchir CEO and Charles Rateliff CFO, Ecoark Holdings also announced two additional executive changes:

  • COO Roshan Weerasinghe was appointed as CEO, Pioneer Products, an Ecoark subsidiary, to focus full time on business development and not corporate operations; and
  • SVP of Business Development Gregg Hames will transition to his new role as SVP of Implementation, Zest Labs, an Ecoark subsidiary, moving from his role at Ecoark.

“Ecoark has rapidly and successfully transitioned from the development stage to a highly valuable collection of revenue-producing subsidiaries that solve major business challenges. We’re currently focused on improving our fundamentals, increasing sales through growth and acquisitions, and attaining profitability to maximize shareholder value,” said Puchir. “The fact that Charles is coming out of retirement to become CFO demonstrates his confidence in the company and the huge market opportunity in front of us.  I’m looking forward to the opportunity to lead this highly dynamic organization with disruptive technologies through one of the most exciting processes in business.”

Jay Puchir has held executive roles at several companies prior to joining Ecoark Holdings. Most recently, he led Ecoark’s financial planning and analysis, treasury and secretary functions, and worked with the Corporate Controller with financial reporting. Jay began his career as an auditor and consultant with one of the Big 4 accounting firms, ultimately earning the position of Senior Manager. He then held the role of the Director of Finance/Controller at a state college, and then Associate Chief Financial Officer within a Fortune 100 healthcare organization. A licensed Certified Public Accountant, Jay received his Bachelor of Arts from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and his Master of Business Administration from Rutgers University.

Charles Rateliff retired in 2005 from Walmart Stores as a Senior Vice President after a 25-year career. Following his retirement, he served as an independent consultant to several private investment groups. After receiving an MBA from the University of Arkansas, he was hired as an internal auditor for Walmart and within five years was promoted to Assistant Treasurer and later on, Treasurer. Over the course of his career at Walmart, Charles worked across several departments including compliance, risk management, profit sharing and associate benefits.  Charles has been an independent member of the Ecoark Board of Directors since May 2016.

In addition to the aforementioned executive changes, the Board voted to increase the number of Directors from seven to nine and will immediately begin searching for two additional independent Directors to fill the vacancies.

About Ecoark Holdings Inc.

Founded in 2011, Ecoark Holdings, Inc. is a growth-oriented company based in the retail and logistics hub of Northwest Arkansas. Ecoark’s portfolio of technology solutions increase operational visibility and improve organizational transparency for a wide range of corporate clients.

Ecoark’s technologies fight waste in Operations, Logistics and Supply Chains across the evolving global economy. The company’s portfolio of companies and technologies work to integrate people, processes and data in order to overcome ingrained operational hurdles and create new revenue streams.

Ecoark’s vision is to expose the cycles of waste that reduce efficiency and cost effectiveness across the business landscape. Its strategically acquired subsidiaries have anticipated and responded to key economic factors impacting every business today. Ecoark addresses these vital economic factors through four active subsidiaries, Zest Labs, Eco3d, Pioneer Products, and Magnolia Solar. For more information, please visit www.ecoarkusa.com.

Forward Looking Statement

This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning our business and possible or assumed future results of operations. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements for many reasons including: our ability to continue as a going concern; adverse economic changes affecting markets we serve; competition in our markets and industry segments; our timing and the profitability of entering new markets; greater than expected costs, customer acceptance of our products or difficulties related to our integration of the businesses we may acquire; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in our public announcements and SEC filings. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, they relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made, and our future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements may not meet these expectations. We do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

Zest Labs Demonstrates Proactive Fresh Food Management throughout the Supply Chain

Zest Labs combines pallet-level produce monitoring with real-time analytics to provide proactive fresh food management, improving quality consistency and reducing post-harvest food waste

Rogers, AR (March 23, 2017) – Zest Labs Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: EARK) and provider of Zest Fresh, a freshness management solution for produce, meats, seafood and dairy recently demonstrated the benefits of a field-to-shelf, proactive freshness management solution, as highlighted by a recent industry white paper discussing available technologies to address the issue.

Historically, post-harvest agriculture operations have been managed by experience and summary reports or audits. Whether due to the very distributed nature of harvesting and processing, or the predominantly manual processing involved, little has been done to collectively monitor each of these processes in real time. While many other industries have adopted real-time process monitoring and feedback to improve quality consistency – such as car manufacturers in the 1980s – this methodology has not yet been adopted in post-harvest agriculture. Zest Labs has shown the benefits of real-time monitoring and feedback for post-harvest processing, through a significant improvement in the quality consistency of delivered product.

A recent article, “Preemptive Freshness Management,” published by Chainlink Research, highlights the benefits of real-time, data driven feedback in managing the fresh food harvest and distribution processes. “Zest Fresh leads the industry in providing preemptive freshness management capabilities for fresh food, addressing core industry challenges with its approach. Zest Fresh offers both the breadth and depth to cover critical processes from the field to the pack house, and through distribution and retail delivery,” stated Bill McBeath, Chief Research Officer at Chainlink Research. As the Chainlink Research article states, empowering the worker in real time is critical to delivering quality consistency, which is a primary contributor to customer satisfaction and avoiding fresh food waste.

Zest Fresh monitors products at the pallet level from harvest through pack house operations, providing real-time feedback that empower workers to maintain best practices. Real-time feedback includes alerts, process specific mobile applications and web dashboards, all of which reflect pallet-level process adherence against product and vendor specific parameters. Zest Fresh feedback includes prescriptive corrective actions that consider many variables including the current product condition and product volume at each process step, processing equipment availability, daily product demand, and required freshness for planned shipments. The knowledge driving the corrective actions, combined with the real-time availability of the information, equip workers to make better tradeoffs, and consistently deliver high quality product.

“Zest Fresh provides an end-to-end solution for managing freshness, using automated data capture and Cloud-based, real-time analytics to enable workers to make the best decisions,” states Peter Mehring, CEO of Zest Labs. “By knowing the condition of each individual pallet, and the current constraints at each process step, Zest Fresh can optimize the trade-offs at key decision points in real-time, making it easy for workers to do the right thing.”

About Zest Labs Inc.

 Zest Labs is a company of passionate problem solvers, addressing the significant challenge of reducing fresh food waste. Zest Fresh is a fresh food management solution that focuses on three primary value propositions – consistent food quality, reduced waste, and improved food safety. Zest Fresh empowers workers with real-time tools and alerts that improve efficiency while driving quality consistency through best practice adherence on every pallet. Zest Fresh drives both business success and environmental sustainability by significantly reducing waste. Zest Labs delivers best-in-class solutions such as Zest Fresh, by addressing the science at the core of the problem, and then provides the tools that make it easy to do “the right thing” every time.

To learn more about Zest Labs, please click here.
To watch a video about Zest Fresh, please click here.

About Ecoark Holdings Inc.

Based in Rogers AR and founded in 2011, Ecoark Holdings, Inc. is a growth-oriented company based in the retail and logistics hub of Northwest Arkansas. Ecoark’s portfolio of technology solutions increase operational visibility and improve organizational transparency for a wide range of corporate clients.

Ecoark’s technologies fight waste in Operations, Logistics, and Supply Chains across the evolving global economy. Ecoark’s portfolio of companies and technologies work to integrate people, processes, and data in order to overcome ingrained operational hurdles and create new revenue streams.

Ecoark’s vision is to expose the cycles of waste that reduce efficiency and cost effectiveness across the business landscape. Ecoark’s strategically acquired subsidiaries have anticipated and responded to key economic factors impacting every business today.

Ecoark addresses these vital economic factors through four active subsidiaries, Zest Labs, Eco3d, Pioneer Products, and Magnolia Solar.

For more information, please visit www.ecoarkusa.com.

Forward Looking Statement:

This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning our business and possible or assumed future results of operations and statements relating to our expectations regarding the completion of the proposed registered offering. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements for many reasons including: our ability to continue as a going concern; adverse economic changes affecting markets we serve; competition in our markets and industry segments; our timing and the profitability of entering new markets; greater than expected costs, customer acceptance of our products or difficulties related to our integration of the businesses we may acquire; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in our public announcements and SEC filings. Other factors that may cause such a difference include, without limitation, risks and uncertainties related to market and other conditions, the satisfaction of customary closing conditions related to the proposed registered offering and the impact of general economic, industry or political conditions in the United States or internationally. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, they relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made, and our future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements may not meet these expectations. We do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.

The Supply Side: Zest Labs ready to push process to improve freshness (Talking Business & Politics)

When it comes to food, fresh is a must for consumers, whether that’s reaching to the back of the dairy case for the latest “sell by date” or scouring the produce looking for what might have the longest window of freshness.

Peter Mehring, CEO of Zest Labs, one of the sustainability companies owned by Rogers-based EcoArk, has spent the past four years testing how its proprietary technology can raise the bar for freshness with supply chain transparency from growers through distribution and into a store.

Mehring said the problem is the misconceptions around freshness which are made by the assumption of a “best use by date” which is assigned to the product. He said this date is a guess at best based on limited information. The missing component from the data is how the product might have been handled or treated in the supply chain.

Zest Labs has worked with produce growers and suppliers for the past four years testing its ZIPR technology which acts as a measure for how the product has been handled and any impact that handling might have on the product’s freshness. He said the company is preparing to launch its technology at retail on a national scale in the coming months, though he would not say which retailers are looking at the product.

The largest grocers in the country — Walmart U.S., Kroger and a H-E-B — have all made “fresh” a major initiative in recent years and they often speak of the positive impact fresh is having on their grocery businesses. The flip side of that is the huge amount of waste associated with trying to deliver fresh products to the consumer.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates $161 billion annually is lost in food waste. Walmart U.S. CEO Greg Foran has said reducing shrink and improving freshness for consumers is a major goal. The retailer lowered sight lines and revamped fresh produce centers in its stores last year. More staff were added to produce departments and each received training on how to handle the produce, rotate and recognize “fresh” based on consistency patterns.

The industry admits only 70% of the products meet the consistency requirements, which creates a 30% loss rate. Mehring said consistency is the primary key used in identifying freshness. But he said indirect benefits such as water reduction, transportation, and cooling times may also have an impact on how long a product stays fresh once it gets to the retailer. The retailers don’t have complete visibility all the way back to the grower and worker who might have picked the produce.

He said Zest Labs freshness metric known as the ZIPR code is based on the specific product type, growing location and harvest and processing conditions that enable improved freshness management decisions. Zest calculates a ZIPR code for each tracked pallet, using patented methodology and sensors, ensuring inventory and shipping decisions are based on actual freshness. Mehring said the technology makes use of Internet of Things (IoT) cloud-based software which can be pushed out to workers in the field on handheld devices or viewed on a laptop or desktop further up the supply chain. Through RFID and Bluetooth technology growers and suppliers using the software can tag an entire pallet of bagged lettuce or crates of strawberries and track freshness through the supply chain. Everything possibly affecting a crop of strawberries can be seen upstream in real time.

The software can notify workers at the grower levels about a potential problem and offer solutions to mitigate any damage to the product’s freshness window. That means there is less waste upstream when the products reach retailers. U.S. testing of the product has shown that using Zest with the ZIPR code can reduce that waste by roughly half, and improve the customer experience, Mehring added.

California growers have been using the technology to monitor their winter crops in Mexico. He said the company owner described the ZIPR technology as “turning on the light.” He said without the visibility of ZIPR it was like working in the dark, but now that they have complete view of the supply chain they can do a better job extending freshness.

Mehring said if a certain batch of berries is handled differently and the fresh window is going to be shorter, they know up the chain to distribute that batch to retailers close by and reduce transportation time.

Retailers like Wal-Mart use a scorecard system that looks at the history of the product, but that system isn’t really helping them detect freshness or expand freshness given that industry-wide wastes are still roughly 30%. Mehring said growers and suppliers testing ZIPR are finding it takes about two to three months to get comfortable with the system, and the cost is about 1 cent per item. He said companies using the technology are finding savings about 10 times over the cost.

When asked about future plans, Mehring said Zest Labs has 65 patents for the technology and 12 others in process. He said it’s been four years in the making, being tested along the way, not just by produce growers but also dairy producers, restaurants, fish distributors and some retail. He expects to see the technology being used more this year and continues to look for those opportunities.

Mehring, a former hardware exec at Apple, said during his work for the late Steve Jobs, Apple insisted on a 99% production yield from its manufacturing line. He said anything less meant people lost their jobs. But in food production a 70% yield has become acceptable.

“We think Zest Labs ZIPR technology can increase that to 90% now, and that’s a big savings for everyone along the supply chain,” Mehring said.

Eco3d Achieves Milestone Growth in 2016, Creating Jobs and Completing Project Work for Leading National Brands

Eco3d, an Ecoark Holdings, Inc. portfolio company and North America’s leading 3d imaging provider, grows 92% year-over-year

Phoenix, Az (January 10, 2017) – Eco3d, a portfolio company of Ecoark Holdings, Inc. (OTCQX: EARK) that measures existing topographic, structural, mechanical, and architectural conditions using a variety of instruments in 2d and 3d, commented today on a landmark year in 2016 where it achieved a business growth of 92% from 2015. The tremendous results follow a 2015 where the Company grew 73% over the year prior.

The Company completed more than 440 projects across North America in 2016 as it continues to cement itself as the largest digital as-built service provider in North America. Its continuous work with leading brands such as Regal Entertainment Group, Marriot, Gensler, PCL Construction, and McCarthy Building Companies is further validation of Eco3d’s ability to meet the increased demand for more efficient solutions to measure existing topographical, structural, mechanical and architectural conditions.

“I am extremely proud of our achievements in 2016. What started with a handful of us working from picnic benches in a local park has turned into 60+ employees working from our newly renovated headquarters in Phoenix. We have enjoyed tremendous success meeting custom client needs on unique projects, working with the largest brands in the world,” said Ken Smerz, President & CEO of Eco3d.

“As we continue to lead the industry of 3d measurement and digital documentation, we are excited for the ever-changing dynamics involved with keeping at the forefront of the technology curve to save time and money for our clients on their renovation and construction projects. We are looking ahead to 2017 with a focus on continuing our exponential growth,” said Smerz.

While completing many projects across the country and opening an office in NY, the Phoenix-based company remains dedicated to its community in Arizona, with recent project work like Meetinghouse 3080 . Eco3d has created more than 50 jobs within the last three years, more than doubling its number of employees in 2016 alone. The Arizona company continues to drive business regionally, recruiting the most talented people locally and within the Southwestern U.S. to provide sensational value as a cutting edge technology company.

“Phoenix is our home and we are thrilled to work here and create jobs within the community,” said Smerz. “We are fortunate to work on exciting projects within Phoenix and the state of Arizona, and look forward to continuing our growth here for years to come.”

About Eco3d
Eco3d is the largest stand-alone service provider of its kind in the country, with expertise in more than ten vertical markets, with rapid growth nationally and internationally, in 2d and 3d documentation. Eco3d works on custom projects integrating the latest technologies in industries including: construction, process plants, healthcare, retail, real estate, civil, and forensic investigation.

The company measures existing topographic, structural, mechanical, and architectural conditions using a variety of instruments, and then creates highly accurate computerized documentation of these conditions in 2d and 3d replications. This information is used for renovation, construction, and documentation to save money and assist in risk mitigation.

About Ecoark Holdings, Inc.
Based in Rogers, AR and founded in 2011, Ecoark Holdings, Inc. is a growth-oriented company based in the retail and logistics hub of Northwest Arkansas. Ecoark’s portfolio of technology solutions increase operational visibility and improve organizational transparency for a wide range of corporate clients.

Ecoark’s technologies fight waste in Operations, Logistics, and Supply Chains across the evolving global economy. Ecoark’s portfolio of companies and technologies work to integrate people, processes, and data in order to overcome ingrained operational hurdles and create new revenue streams.

Ecoark’s vision is to expose the cycles of waste that reduce efficiency and cost effectiveness across the business landscape. Ecoark’s strategically acquired subsidiaries have anticipated and responded to key economic factors impacting every business today.

Ecoark addresses these vital economic factors through four active subsidiaries, Zest Labs, Eco3d, Pioneer Products, and Magnolia Solar.

For more information, please visit www.ecoarkusa.com.

Forward Looking Statement:
This release contains forward-looking statements, including, without limitation, statements concerning our business and possible or assumed future results of operations. Our actual results could differ materially from those anticipated in the forward-looking statements for many reasons including: our ability to continue as a going concern; adverse economic changes affecting markets we serve; competition in our markets and industry segments; our timing and the profitability of entering new markets; greater than expected costs, customer acceptance of our products or difficulties related to our integration of the businesses we may acquire; and other risks and uncertainties as may be detailed from time to time in our public announcements and SEC filings. Although we believe the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, they relate only to events as of the date on which the statements are made, and our future results, levels of activity, performance or achievements may not meet these expectations. We do not intend to update any of the forward-looking statements after the date of this document to conform these statements to actual results or to changes in our expectations, except as required by law.